Police Allege Driver Lied About Fatal Crash


The driver who crashed an SUV into an empty sedan and pushed the vehicle into two plumbers allegedly told police a false story about what caused the crash.

The Colorado Springs Police Department says they're now asking for help finding Michael Stephen Benton, 32. An arrest warrant is pending and a probable cause affidavit is currently in the system for his arrest.

According to police, Benton was behind the wheel of a blue Nissan SUV that was headed southbound on the 1400 block of North Nevada Avenue. He originally told police he swerved to avoid crashing into a small black pickup truck that was in the left lane, which led to him crashing into two vehicles parked along the side of the road.

The collision pushed the second vehicle, a red Nissan sedan, into the rear of a parked work van where two plumbers were removing tools from the vehicle. Both men, a 44-year-old and a 46-year-old, were pinned between the two vehicles.

Both men were taken to the hospital; Mark Michelle, the 46-year-old, died as a result of his injuries.

Police no longer believe that the account of events Benton gave them was true.

Danielle Richardson, a friend of Michelle, says his death was a deep loss for Allied Plumbing and everyone that knew him.

"He was a very funny guy, just a very trustworthy guy," Richardson said. "We could trust him with our vans, with our equipment, that he would get the job done right. He was just a really good guy."

Richardson adds that the other plumber has severe leg injuries and will likely need rods inserted.

Police are asking for help finding Benton. They believe he is still in the Colorado Springs area and may be staying at a local hotel. He is suspected to be driving a white Dodge Neon.

Anyone with information is asked to call 719-444-7000 or Crime Stoppers at 719-634-STOP.

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  • by Anonymous on Mar 7, 2012 at 03:30 AM
    This whole mess just makes me sick. Michael Benton you have a history of being irresponsible and your latest actions have taken my husband and my childrens daddy. And damaged another family beyond beliefe. YOU need to go to jail and stay there for a long long time grow up already and stop letting your family bail you out of the messes you make. you have no right to change anyones life as you did. Stop lying and man up.
  • by Little bit of encouragement Location: COS on Feb 18, 2012 at 02:57 PM
    There is a wonderful book 90 Minites in Heaven by Don Piper that tells of a mans journey trying to endure the physical and mental pain of healing after being in a horrible car accident that crushes his leg. A fixator (Ilizarov device) was used in the repair/healing process. He is trying to adjust to the new "normal" for his life. Even if you are not a Christian, the book is awesome, and offers ways family and friends can be encouraging. Hopefully it will help him too (when he is able)if he wants/seeks to get some encouragement. Our families prayers are with both families in this very difficult time of life. Still praying!
  • by Murllin & Brenda Location: School on Feb 17, 2012 at 07:05 AM
    We are so sorry to hear of your loss.God be with you all.Trenton your Dad loved you all and was a proud man he would not want you to feel this way.You need to stay strong for your mom and sister it will be hard.A loss of a parent is very hard.I lost my Dad in Dec.If you need anyone to talk to you know where Iam.God be with the other family and prayers go out to you all.
  • by Jim Location: Colorado Springs on Feb 17, 2012 at 12:15 AM
    The plot thinkens. No black truck involved. No surprise!
  • by catpiper Location: Colorado Springs on Feb 16, 2012 at 06:22 PM
    This guy's facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001200059235&sk=info No charges for the woman in the car who pretended she was driving while he fled the scene?
  • by Ray on Feb 16, 2012 at 05:49 PM
    How does this dude sleep at night? I hope his conscience gets the best of him and he turns himself in. I know I would be sick over it.
  • by Rbr Location: Colosprgsco on Feb 16, 2012 at 04:42 PM
    A memorial fund for Mark Meschelle has been set up at Academy Bank under Honey's name and a donation account for Kenneth Baker was also set up at Academy Bank under Daniel Richardson's name. Just in case anyone is wanting to help the families out...
  • by Kelly on Feb 16, 2012 at 10:08 AM
    Hi honey, I'm Kens and lynettes daughter! I just want to send my deepest sympathy to you and your family. If there's anything I can do to help please let me know! I know first hand how hard this is, and yes we have a long road ahead of us as well! Please know that my thoughts are with you all.
  • by Monique the Cat Lady on Feb 15, 2012 at 08:48 AM
    I was always taught that slow-down or speed-up are the only two options when avoiding an accident. If you change lanes or direction to avoid one accident you will likely cause another and it's you who will be responsible for anything that happens. I used to think it was extreme, but I've seen it happen too many times now. I pity this poor girl, she has to live with this even though it may not have been her fault.
    • reply
      by mark your oldest nephew on Feb 19, 2012 at 01:08 AM in reply to Monique the Cat Lady
      You shoulden pity a woman that chose to cover for a meth head ,lied to police and let the person that was responsable for the death of one hard working man just trying to feed and put a roof over his family head and maybe the ablity to walk for another. Now your hard earnd co tax $ are going to the cops that have to spend there time to try to find this man when he would already be in jail if a woman would have only did what was right in the first place i hope the woman is put in jail on charges for hindering an investigation and wastign are co tax $ just becouse she choose to be shum with the man and i hope the rest of co can do the right thing and help find this man and bring him to justice and bring a little closure to the family of both the men. PS if u pity these ppl your just as bad as them, ppl need to man up to there actions
  • by K Location: Colorado Springs on Feb 14, 2012 at 07:23 PM
    Thats crazy it says Daniel Richardson is the owner ...Hmmmm guess people can't get their stories straight or what companies they own.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 14, 2012 at 11:09 PM in reply to K
      Might be the reporter.
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